Ancient Monuments

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Moat Hills moated site, Bentley

A Scheduled Monument in Bentley, Doncaster

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Latitude: 53.5481 / 53°32'53"N

Longitude: -1.1377 / 1°8'15"W

OS Eastings: 457230.592822

OS Northings: 406060.875736

OS Grid: SE572060

Mapcode National: GBR NWHD.HV

Mapcode Global: WHDD2.H2GT

Entry Name: Moat Hills moated site, Bentley

Scheduled Date: 2 February 1976

Last Amended: 10 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013655

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13216

County: Doncaster

Electoral Ward/Division: Bentley

Built-Up Area: Bentley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Bentley St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


The monument comprises two islands surrounded by a substantial moat and
divided by a ditch running north west to south east. The eastern island
measures c.70m x 70m and the western c.60m x 60m.
The latter has a shallow, marshy depression in its western angle which
represents a former fishpond and a low platform in the eastern angle. Grass-
covered stone footings run in parallel banks, west to east across the north
corner. A causeway crosses the central ditch, linking the two islands, and
grass-covered rubble piled nearby is believed to be the remains of a
gatehouse. The eastern island has a low bank along the line of the central
ditch, suggesting a revetment wall which may also have continued round the
north side, though here the bank does not survive so well. As on the western
island, low banks of grass-covered stone run parallel west to east and a
substantial E-shaped earthwork, with traces of a bank closing one section,
exists in the east corner, indicating building foundations measuring c.30m x
25m. The moat is partially water-filled to the north, west and east but is
largely buried beneath a tip to the south. Channels coming into the moat from
the north west and east are inlet and outlet ditches. Earthworks within the
northernmost of these, close to its confluence with the moat, are interpreted
as the position of a dam or sluice.
Excluded from the scheduling are the stays of a telegraph pole and sections of
post and wire fencing, though the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

Moat Hills, Bentley, with its well preserved earthworks, is a good example of
this type of monument. As a site with two islands, it is atypical and unusual
for this area of England. The size of the site, along with the indications of
substantial stone buildings, revetment walling and a gatehouse, combine to
indicate this was a site of considerable importance, probably the site of a
manor house. In addition to the extensive surviving remains on the enclosed
islands, organic and palaeoenvironmental remains will be well preserved in the
waterlogged moat.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Allen, T, History of Yorkshire, (1831)
Hunter, J, South Yorkshire , (1831)
Le Patourel, H E J, Moated site of Yorkshire, (1973)
Magilton, J, The Doncaster District, (1977)
Miller, E , The History and Antiquities of Doncaster, (1804)

Source: Historic England

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